St. Luke's tops King, 27-16 for FAA football title
Published 9:25 pm, Friday, November 7, 2014
NEW CANAAN -- With the prize of a FAA title within its reach, the St. Luke's School football team was not going to be denied.
"We were hyped for this game all week. It was the most valuable piece in a successful season," St. Luke's sophomore halfback Justin Brown said. "We were down 7-0 at halftime. We all decided to treat the second half as a new game. We were determined to win no matter what it took."
Brown's fourth-quarter touchdown runs of 17 and 59 yards were critical components as St. Luke's stormed to a 27-16 victory over King School Friday at Watson Field at Pedrick Stadium.
The win means St. Luke's (7-2, 4-1 FAA) and King (6-2, 4-1) share the 2014 FAA Football regular-season title. But in the minds of the raucous St. Luke's fans filling the grandstand, Friday's victory is the ultimate tiebreaker.
"I'm proud of our team. I'm proud of the whole school," St. Luke's veteran coach Noel Thomas Sr. said. "The excitement around the school all week for this game was phenomenal. The support we got from our home crowd was even bigger than Homecoming Day.
"These players are my family," Thomas Sr. continued. "And they never quit today. It's great to send out our seniors with an FAA football title."
And now, St. Luke's will wait to see if they receive an invitation to a NEPSAC bowl game.
The typical November wind and occasionally rainy conditions had both sides trying to establish their running attacks.
King grabbed a 7-0 lead with 2:30 left in the first quarter. John McAllister's 11-yard touchdown run was set up by a King fumble recovery on the St. Luke's' 16.
It remained 7-0 at halftime as King's defense limited Brown to 46 yards rushing on 11 carries.
On a day where both teams recovered onside kicks, King had an opportunity for more points.
With 1:04 left before halftime, King had fourth-and-19 on the Storm 25. The Vikings considered a 42-yard field goal try, but called time and sent the offense back in.
A pass -- just beyond the first down marker -- was completed but called back on a penalty.
"If we had scored before the half ..." King coach Dan Gouin said.
St. Luke's came out determied in the second half. Brown's 7-yard touchdown run forged a 7-7 tie just 1:34 into the third quarter.
St. Luke's senior lefty quarterback Alex Libman (6 of 9, 78 yards) went to the air to give the Storm a 13-7 edge.
Jacob Morganstern was the target of choice, catching a 40-yard pass and a 14-yard Touchdown strike with 7:17 left in the third quarter.
King, however, responded quickly.
The Vikings set up a screen pass to the right and to the left. Freshman quarterback Renn Lints faked the pass right then calmly hit McAllister to the left. McAllister broke several tackles while rumbling 65 yards for the touchdown. James Conheeney was perfect on the PAT and King led 14-13 with 3:25 left in the third period.
King recovered an onside kick, but missed an open receiver by a stride on a pass well downfield.
St. Luke's seized the moment, driving 88 yards in nine plays, capped by Brown's 17-yard touchdown run. The run for two points out of St. Luke's' exotic extra-point formation failed, leaving the Storm up 19-14 with 9:13 to play.
On the ensuing possession, King drove in to Storm territory, but turned the ball over on downs at the St. Luke's 32 with 6:40 to go.
St. Luke's converted a key third-and-9 to keep its next drive alive before Brown (22 carries, 190 yards, 3 TDs) brought the hammer, racing 59 yards up the middle to the end zone. Morganstern bulled his way in for two points, giving the Storm a 27-14 with 3:57 to go.
"My best attribute is my speed," Brown said. "Once I'm in the open field I don't look back. I know I'm gone. The work of the offensive line with new line coach Ulish Booker and the threat of Jacob Morganstern (146 yards from scrimmage) have helped me a lot. I was a 500-yard rusher now I'm a 1,000-yard rusher."
It was a sad ending to a great season for King.
"I'm disappointed we lost. I'm not disappointed in the kids' effort or the entire season," Gouin said. "It was a game where they capitalized on our mistakes. You can't make mistakes against a good team."
St. Luke's 27, King 16
KING 7 0 7 2 --16
ST. LUKE'S 0 0 13 14 --27
K -- John McAllister 11 run (James Conheeney kick)
SL -- Justin Brown 7 run (Kyle Andersen kick)
SL -- Jacob Morganstern 14 pass from Alex Libman (kick failed)
K -- McAllister 65 pass from Lints (Conheeney kick)
SL -- Brown 17 run (run failed)
SL -- Brown 59 run (Morgenstern run)
K -- safety; StL punter runs out of end zone
Records: King 6-2, 4-1 FAA; St. Luke's 7-2, 4-1 FAA.